Smugglers’ paradise? No deal Brexit would keep the Irish border open

Smugglers’ paradise? No deal Brexit plans would keep the Irish border open while stinging tariffs are slapped on the rest of the UK

  • UK to eliminate import tariffs to avoid hard border between Ireland and NI
  • No deal plan would see import taxes applied between Republic and mainland UK
  • Critics have pointed out NI would be treated differently to rest of Great Britain 

Britain will not introduce any new checks or tariffs on goods moving across the land border into Northern Ireland in the event of no deal Brexit – but critics warn it could become a smugglers’ route into the UK.  

Border agents could face a battle with profiteer gangs creating a black market for EU goods including cars and food after March 29, critics have said.

The worrying situation could arise because new tariffs will be slapped on imports to the UK mainland from the Republic by sea or air if Britain crashes out of the EU.

But there will be no charges if it enters the UK via Northern Ireland by land. 

Ministers said today that products from the EU including beef, pork, chicken, butter, cheese and fish would also be subject to import taxes expected to push up prices in the supermarkets from March 29 if there is no deal. 

For example cars from the EU would be subject to a a 10.6 per tax on the cost of all ‘fully finished’ vehicles – making the prices of an average vehicle surge by £1,500. 

Today UK Government has announced that it will not introduce any new checks or controls on goods moving across the land border into Northern Ireland (pictured at Newry) if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal

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However in a seemingly confusing loophole in no deal plan, Northern Ireland’s border would remain open for at least 12 months and goods entering from the Republic would not face tariffs to preserve the Good Friday agreement.   

However, tariffs will be payable on goods moving from the EU into the rest of the UK via Northern Ireland under a schedule of rates also released on Wednesday.  

The Government insists that this will not create a border down the Irish Sea, as there will be no checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Instead, normal compliance and intelligence methods will be used to detect any traders attempting to abuse the system. 

Ministers accepted that the new regime will cause ‘concerns’ to Northern Irish businesses and farmers about the impact on their competitiveness .

But they said these were the only steps that could be taken to deliver on the Government’s commitment to avoiding a hard border in the case of no deal.

Under the new regime for Northern Ireland, goods arriving from the Republic will still be subject to the same VAT and excise duty as at present.

Small businesses trading across the border will be able to report VAT online without any new processes at the border.

Another massive rebellion and implacable opposition from Labour and the DUP sunk the deal

To protect human, animal and plant health, animals and animal products from outside the EU would be required to enter Northern Ireland through a designated entry point, while regulated plant materials from outside the EU and high-risk plants from inside Europe will require certification and pre-notification.

There will be new UK import requirements such as document checks and registration for a small number of goods such as endangered species and hazardous chemicals which are subject to international agreements.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said: ‘The Government has been clear that a deal with the European Union is the best outcome for Northern Ireland.

‘But we will do all we can to support people and businesses across Northern Ireland in the event that we leave without a deal.

‘The measures announced today recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. These arrangements can only be temporary and short term.’

In the case of no-deal, the UK Government is committed to entering discussions urgently with Brussels and Dublin to agree long-term arrangements.


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